Lambing Flat Folk Museum (Young, NSW)

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Chinese Compensation Claims

Posted on July 24, 2015 at 6:00 AM

The following is from a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday 3 November 1862 from Parliamentary Papers submitted by William D. Campbell, to the Secretary for Lands, from Beverley, Burrowa, 20 May, 1862.

 

Sir,-

In accordance with your instructions… of the 21st May, 1861… forwarding claims by Chinese for compensation for losses alleged to have been sustained by them at the riots at the Lambing Flat Gold Fields in January and February, 1861, I have now the honour to report as follows:-

 

The claims forwarded to me are,-

 

1. Claims on behalf Chinese, 24 in number, amounting to £5339/6/0

2. Claim by Su Sang Sing Dob £300/0/0

3. Claim by Ar Sing, Yang Yei, Ar Song, and Kan Long £700/0/0

 

With reference to the first of these claims I have used every endeavour to ascertain the identity of the claimants, but have found it impossible to do this… In accordance with the information so obtained… I report that, on the 19th February, 1861 … the Chinese who previous to that date been resident at Lambing Flat and Blackguard Gully, were encamped at Wamba Numba, about 5 miles from the former place – there were about 200 Chinese there – that a number of rioters proceeded from Lambing Flat to that place to remove the Chinese, who, before their arrival, and knowing of their approach, had removed a greater part of their property – and very few of them were there when the rioters reached the encampment. That the only losses then sustained by the Chinese arose from the destruction… of cradles, buckets, tin dishes, tents, &c… the whole value could not have exceeded £20. One witness (Howarth) speaks of the destruction of a dray and goods on this occasion, but he is contradicted by another (Brown), who had better opportunities of knowing what occurred.

 

In the claim referred to, large amounts are put down as for loss (I presume by robbery) of gold and notes, but I can find no evidence… that any robberies were committed on this occasion, while the evidence of Brown and other witnesses… that the Chinese… were not likely to be in possession… of any gold and notes … this claim… is not only unsupported by any evidence… there is reason to believe it is altogether fraudulent.

 

Su Sang Sing Dob’s Claim. The claimant in this case states that he sustained losses to the extent of £300, and as he appears to have been better known… more satisfactory information has been obtained.

 

His losses are said to have been sustained on 27 January, 1861, and to have consisted of goods purchased from Mr. Walker, a storekeeper at Braidwood. On referring to the only gentleman of this name and occupation at Braidwood, he states that he has been out of business for two years, “and have never had any transactions with Su Sang Sing Dob, nor do I know anything of him.” The witness Howarth says he saw the store of this claimant burned at Blackguard Gully on 17 February, and that it contained a considerable quantity of opium, but as the claim is made for losses sustained at Lambing Flat, and as evidence shows that the claimant was then in very poor circumstances, the witness Howarth must be labouring under a mistake.

 

… it is very doubtful if the claimant sustained any loss on the occasion referred to, but if he did it could not have exceeded the value of his tent.

 

Ar Sing, Yang Yei, Ar Song, Kan Long. The claimants in this instance claim to the amount of £700, part of which… to the value of £255 1s. 6d., purchased from Molison and Black, through San Tin War. In the course of my enquiries… I have only been able to find two parties who are supposed to be the real claimants, Ar Sing and Pak Fuk… Ar Sing produced invoices by Molison and Black but admitted all the goods had not arrived prior to removal of Chinese from Blackguard Gully or the sheep station at Wamba Numba. The goods could not have been destroyed as they could not have arrived either at Lambing Flat or the Sheep Station prior to the riots.

 

In conclusion, … from information obtained from Chinese as well as Europeans… the destruction of property on the occasion… 27th January and 17th February, 1861, was very trifling and the claims referred to are altogether fraudulent. William D. Campbell.

 

P.S. It has been necessary to abbreviate this report due to space available.

 

Young Historical Society – Brian James.

 

 

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